Bikepacking is an exciting outdoor activity that involves cycling and camping. It requires a lot of physical energy and mental preparation. One of the essential items for bikepacking is shoes. The right pair of shoes can make a significant difference in your comfort and performance during the trip. In this article, we will explore the types of shoes that are suitable for bikepacking and how to choose the right pair.

Bikepacking is a fun and exciting way to explore the great outdoors on two wheels. However, finding the right gear for your adventure can be a daunting task. One important consideration for bikepacking is choosing the right shoes. In this article, we will discuss the factors to consider when selecting shoes for bikepacking and provide recommendations for the best shoes to wear on your next adventure.

Understanding Bikepacking Shoe Needs

Before we dive into the specifics of bikepacking shoes, it’s important to understand the unique needs of this activity. Unlike regular cycling shoes, bikepacking shoes need to be versatile and durable. They should be able to handle various terrain types, including rocky or muddy trails. They should also be comfortable enough for long rides and provide adequate support for your feet.


Durability is one of the most critical aspects of bikepacking shoes. You need to choose shoes that can withstand harsh weather conditions, rough terrains, and long rides. Look for shoes made of high-quality materials such as leather, Gore-Tex, or synthetic fabrics. These materials are durable and will keep your feet protected from the elements.


Comfort is another crucial factor to consider when choosing bikepacking shoes. You will be spending a lot of time on your feet, so you need shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning. Look for shoes with a thick sole and good arch support. Make sure the shoes fit well and are not too tight or too loose.


Versatility is also important when choosing bikepacking shoes. You will encounter different terrain types during your trip, so you need shoes that can handle all of them. Look for shoes with a good grip and traction, especially if you will be cycling on muddy or slippery trails.

Types of Bikepacking Shoes

Now that we understand the needs of bikepacking shoes let’s explore the different types of shoes available.

A key takeaway from this text is that choosing the right pair of shoes is essential for a successful and comfortable bikepacking trip. Bikepacking shoes need to be durable, comfortable, and versatile to handle various terrain types. Factors to consider when choosing bikepacking shoes include durability, comfort, versatility, terrain type, foot type, and budget. While there are different types of shoes available, bikepacking shoes are a good choice as they combine the necessary features of hiking and cycling shoes.

Now that we understand the needs of bikepacking shoes let’s explore the different types of shoes available.

Cycling Shoes

Cycling shoes are designed specifically for cycling. They are lightweight, aerodynamic, and provide excellent power transfer. However, they are not suitable for bikepacking because they lack the necessary durability and support. They are also not comfortable enough for long rides and do not provide enough traction for off-road cycling.

Hiking Shoes

Hiking shoes are designed for outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking, and camping. They are durable, comfortable, and provide good support and traction. However, they are not suitable for cycling because they lack the necessary stiffness for efficient pedaling.

Mountain Bike Shoes

Mountain bike shoes are designed for off-road cycling. They are durable, comfortable, and provide good support and traction. They have a stiff sole that allows for efficient pedaling and a good grip for off-road cycling. They are a good choice for bikepacking because they are versatile and can handle various terrain types.

Bikepacking Shoes

Bikepacking shoes are a relatively new category of shoes designed specifically for bikepacking. They combine the durability and support of hiking shoes with the stiffness and efficiency of cycling shoes. They are comfortable, versatile, and can handle various terrain types. They are a good choice for bikepacking because they provide the necessary support, durability, and comfort for long rides and off-road cycling.

Choosing the Right Pair of Bikepacking Shoes

Choosing the right pair of bikepacking shoes can be challenging. Here are some factors to consider when making your choice.

Terrain Type

Consider the terrain type you will encounter during your trip. If you will be cycling on rocky or muddy trails, look for shoes with a good grip and traction. If you will be cycling on paved roads, look for shoes with a stiffer sole for efficient pedaling.

Foot Type

Consider your foot type when choosing bikepacking shoes. If you have flat feet or high arches, look for shoes with good arch support. If you have wide feet, look for shoes with a wider toe box.


Bikepacking shoes can be expensive, so consider your budget when making your choice. Look for shoes that provide good value for money and are within your budget.

FAQs – What Shoes for Bikepacking

What type of shoes should I wear for bikepacking?

Choosing the right footwear for bikepacking is important to ensure your comfort and safety on the trails. It is recommended to wear cycling shoes that are specifically designed for this activity. These shoes offer a stiff sole that helps transfer power to the pedals, while also providing good grip for walking on rough terrain. Additionally, they usually have a breathable and quick-drying upper material that helps keep your feet cool and dry during long rides.

Do I need to get special clip-in shoes for bikepacking?

Clip-in shoes are an excellent choice for bikepacking, especially if you plan to ride for extended periods or tackle difficult terrain. These shoes allow you to efficiently transfer power from your legs to the pedals, improving your overall riding performance. However, you don’t necessarily need to get them as there are other types of mountain bike shoes that have a sticky rubber sole which grips flat pedals perfectly. Ultimately, it depends on your personal preference and the type of riding you plan to do.

Should I choose a shoe with a waterproof membrane?

Waterproof shoes are a great option for bikepacking, especially if you’re planning on riding in wet or muddy conditions. They will help to keep your feet dry and comfortable, reducing the risk of blisters and other foot related issues. However, it’s important to note that waterproof shoes can be less breathable than other types of shoes. So, if you tend to sweat a lot or plan to ride in hot weather, you may want to opt for shoes with a more breathable material.

Can I just wear my regular sneakers for bikepacking?

Regular sneakers are not recommended for bikepacking as they typically don’t have the necessary features to support this activity. Often, they lack a stiff sole, which can lead to discomfort, arch fatigue, and even injury. Additionally, they may not provide enough grip when you’re walking on rocky or slippery terrain. Therefore, we suggest investing in a good pair of cycling shoes that are designed for bikepacking. It’s a wise investment for a more comfortable and safer trip.


By Frank

Frank Thompson, a seasoned cyclist and bike aficionado, has been passionate about all things bicycle-related since his childhood. Born and raised in the beautiful Seattle, Frank has spent countless hours exploring the winding trails, scenic roads, and vibrant urban landscapes on two wheels. With over 20 years of experience in the cycling world, Frank has garnered an extensive knowledge of bicycle mechanics, maintenance, and customization. After completing his degree in Mechanical Engineering, Frank pursued a career in the bicycle industry, working with renowned bike manufacturers and local bike shops. His expertise led him to become a sought-after consultant for professional cyclists, weekend warriors, and bike enthusiasts alike. Throughout the years, he has also volunteered with various cycling advocacy groups, promoting safe and accessible cycling infrastructure in the community. Frank's passion for cycling extends beyond his professional life, as he has participated in numerous local and international bike races and charity events. His love for adventure has taken him on several memorable cycling expeditions, from the breathtaking mountain trails of the Rockies to the picturesque coastal roads of the Mediterranean. As a valued contributor to West Seattle Cyclery, Frank shares his wealth of knowledge and experience with our readers through informative articles, how-to guides, and gear reviews. Always eager to help fellow cyclists, Frank is dedicated to making the world of cycling more approachable and enjoyable for everyone. When he's not busy tinkering with bikes or writing for the blog, you can find him exploring new routes, coaching beginner cyclists, or spending quality time with his family and their beloved golden retriever, Buddy.